It's hard to imagine that an Aussie kid since the '80's could have grown up without Hairy Maclary. He might not be Australian, but we Aussies are very good at subsuming everything Kiwi under our own Australian mantle, much the same way that America does to Canada.
Anyway, back to the irrepressible Skye terrier. The books bearing his name deserve their title of classics. They're also wonderful living books for the ankle-biters. New Zealand author Lynley Dodds doesn't speak down to children. She uses words like bumptious, bellicose, boisterous, cantankerous, pilfered, pillaged, and cacophony...for two year olds!! What's more, the kids understand them because they're introduced in context. They're fun words that sound interesting when spoken out loud. Often they're onomatopoeic - they sound like the action they described - cacophony, for example.
Kids love Hairy and his animal friends including Schnitzel von Krumm, the dachshund, and Scarface Claw the maniacal cat. You don't have to be antipodean to enjoy them either. For those of you overseas, take a look at the YouTube video of the first Hairy Maclary book, above. I guarantee that your toddler'll be back for more!!
Try reading them out loud - fast!
(P.S. For those of you who aren't fluent in 'New Zealandish', a dairy is a corner shop - not a milking shed or a dairy farm...)